Have you booked your mid-life MOT yet?

A mid-life MOT comes highly recommended - with hindsight, retirees I have interviewed would have thought more deeply and deliberately about life post 50 years old. 

So what is a mid-life MOT and why is it useful?

A mid-life MOT starts with a life appraisal. An opportunity to step away from the day to day and reflect on where you have come from, how you have got there and to review the highs and the lows along the way. 

Very often in our first few decades, we have been so busy “doing”,  we forget about who we want to “be” so it can be really insightful to look at our personal values – what is really important to us about how we live our lives. Some of us are lucky enough to have understood our values early on and have forged a life that aligns to these, but some of us have never really looked at our values. Living a life that aligns to our values is living a life that is truly fulfilling.

Identifying your personal values can be the key to unlocking an exciting and fulfilling future. So that’s the next step, to look forward, staying true to your personal values and plan purposefully. Using a wheel of life helps look at where you’d like to be in each of your life domains – career, relationship, family etc and where you are now. 

This often prompts a gap analysis. Look deeply at your target – is your dream realistic? If it is, what is causing the gap? I hear so many people talk about their dreams quickly followed by a long list of barriers to achieving them. So for these people it’s important to have a barrier review. For each barrier, flip it, be positive – What are the reasons why you can do this rather than why you can’t achieve success? Be creative – Tackle each barrier head on and work out how to overcome it – there will be a way. 

Then it’s about planning, really planning your future. Retirees said they had planned their weddings, their career, their families but never considered planning life after that and with hindsight they all wished they had. They recommended planning early, and planning holistically. They suggested building in time for retraining or studying to enable a late change in career direction or to develop a voluntary interest.  They encouraged getting healthy so this was not a limiting factor for their later life activities. 

It is commonly reported that as you age, you experience a change in your identity – this is especially true when or if we exit our core careers. This can be very unsettling but there is much that can be done to minimise this lost sense of identity. Knowing these “bridging” techniques in advance can help craft a smooth transition to your later years. 

Not everyone likes planning for their future but there is research evidence that planning increases satisfaction even when the plans are unmet. Having seen family members curb their activities to live within the bounds of their illnesses, I am very aware that long-term plans do not always get achieved. In this instance, I would advocate short-term even daily goals to enrich your days. 

I have got so much pleasure watching people transform their lives. I am always amazed when I compare where we started to where we end up. These clients have all made a conscious choice to do something about their situation. A mid-life MOT gives you an opportunity to appraise your life so far, to be brutally honest with yourself about current levels of satisfaction and to redirect your focus if required. Retirees were naturally drawn to appraise their lives on retirement and many regretted leaving it this long as there was less time to effect change. 

To quote the recent James Bond movie, “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time".

So what does it mean for you to really live your life, not exist? And how are you effectively using the time that you have? 

If you’d like to book in for a mid-life MOT, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX15

Written by Tessa Dodwell

Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX15

Tessa has held a number of mentoring and coaching roles both in work and as a volunteer. Tessa gains immense satisfaction from supporting individuals to maximise their potential and is an expert in major life transformations. My Masters dissertation on coaching for retirement included retiree recommendations for mid-life so prompted this article.

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